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Career Monday: Top 10 Critical Competencies of Great Leaders

Great leaders share many common traits. Though criteria for leadership in the workplace can vary from company to company, the majority of effective leaders exemplify certain skills. By focusing on developing these same skills, you can take your leadership abilities to the next level.

Develop the important traits necessary to become a great leader:

1. Self-motivated. As a leader, it’s important to be able to motivate yourself to take action to move forward toward your goals – whether they’re personal or team goals. Leaders are driven to get things done and they lead their team to do the same.

2. The ability to delegate. You can’t do it all yourself. The most effective leaders surround themselves with skilled people, define their responsibilities, and then get out of the way. A single person is quite limited, but many hands can get a lot done. Learn how to share your workload.

3. Communicate effectively. You might have a clear picture in your mind of what you’d like to see happen. Unfortunately, no one can read your mind. A leader is responsible for sharing his vision and making his desires known.

• People can give you what you want when you can communicate clearly what needs to be done.

• Provide status updates and keep everyone on the same page. Employees lose motivation when they don’t understand the current situation fully.

4. Develop others. Being a leader isn’t just about utilizing others to reach your goals. It’s developing those around you. From a more selfish perspective, the more skilled your employees, the more they can assist you and the company.

• Share your expertise and help everyone around you to grow.

5. Be committed. You can’t expect greater commitment than you’re willing to provide. A leader sets the ceiling. Everyone else settles in somewhere below that point. Set the ceiling high and show them what true commitment looks like.

6. Inspire others. A great leader knows how to inspire others to do their best work. It’s not always easy to inspire those content to simply show up each day and collect a paycheck, but it’s possible. Show your motivation and commitment.

• Even if you’re only able to inspire a few people to do their best, it will make a positive difference.

7. Have a clear focus. If you don’t know what you want, you won’t get it. Leaders are clear on their vision and readily share it with others. A clear vision serves as a roadmap. Employees can easily ask themselves if their actions are contributing to the attainment of your vision. Know your focus and communicate it effectively.

8. Show respect. Strive to treat everyone fairly and avoid playing favorites. Everyone is worthy of a basic level of respect. Ensure that you’re giving it.

9. Confidence. It’s natural to be drawn to others with confidence. You are viewed as more capable and trustworthy when your confidence level is high. Be comfortable with your skills and your plan.

• A lack of self-confidence will limit the ability of others to trust your vision and judgment.

10. Decisiveness. Leaders make the tough decisions fearlessly and take responsibility for the outcome. It’s easy to make quick decisions when you’re clear on your values and those of the company. If you can’t make up your mind, your leadership skills will be called into question.

• Practice by making small decisions quickly and following through on them. It gets easier with practice. You’ll be surprised by how much more you accomplish when you’re able to make a clear decision.

Leaders are necessary in any organization. Great leaders share common characteristics that you can develop in yourself. Even if you don’t feel you currently possess these qualities, you can grow your capacity to be an effective leader.

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